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Where to actually purchase a PCI-E LAPTOP card?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Laptops
  • PCI Express
  • Graphics
  • Product
Last response: in Graphics Cards
March 18, 2012 1:41:26 PM

Hi,
Thanks in advance for your help. I have been searching in vain for hours for a graphics card to buy for my laptop. The AMD and Nvidia sites don't have any mechanism to purchase cards for laptops, and Nvidia flat out says they are for OEM builds. I have looked on NewEgg and maybe I am just not looking for the right thing, because I can't find anything!
My five year old Alienware is still doing great but I'd like to upgrade the graphics, and it is not integrated.
My Pc:
Alienware M5790
Core Duo 2.17 GH
ATI Mobility Radeon X1900
64 bit OS

Where can I buy an upgrade?
Thanks again,
Shell

More about : purchase pci laptop card

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March 18, 2012 1:55:38 PM

They are not in retail and can only be bought on auction sites or from the OEM's! In most cases laptops are simply not upgrade able.
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March 18, 2012 2:00:21 PM

rolli59 said:
They are not in retail and can only be bought on auction sites or from the OEM's! In most cases laptops are simply not upgrade able.


Thanks for the quick reply. Maybe I wasn't clear, but the OEMs will not let you purchase them from their site-only as part as a new laptop. Are there any auctions sites that are dedicated to pcs/components? I am striking out at ebay. I know most laptops are integrated, but that is changing. Part of Alienware's appeal and why I bought the upgrade to a better and discrete card was its upgrade ability, and now I can't find a card to buy! grrr. lol
Thanks.
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Related resources
a c 1641 U Graphics card
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March 18, 2012 2:07:19 PM

Usually the cost of them is the prohibiting factor for upgrade if you can get one from the OEM!
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March 18, 2012 2:18:14 PM

Have you even looked if your laptop can accept a card? Most are just integrated into the motherboar and in order to upgrade, you have to replace it all which makes it stupid expensive. Build a esktop for the same price as a motherboard GPU for a laptop.
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March 18, 2012 2:28:50 PM

Lasergirl said:
Thanks for the quick reply. Maybe I wasn't clear, but the OEMs will not let you purchase them from their site-only as part as a new laptop. Are there any auctions sites that are dedicated to pcs/components? I am striking out at ebay. I know most laptops are integrated, but that is changing. Part of Alienware's appeal and why I bought the upgrade to a better and discrete card was its upgrade ability, and now I can't find a card to buy! grrr. lol
Thanks.


Alienware offers laptops with ability to upgrade video cards is mainly for customers to customize the laptop when buying it. It is not for users to do the upgrade themselves since, as you found out, the cards are impossible to find. Unless you buy the OEM card in large quantities.

The trend with laptops is not having upgradeable parts. Just the opposite. Graphics are integgrated into the CPU (to cut cost and better battery) and those with discrete GPU are soldered on the motherboard. High-end laptops with "upgradeable" graphics represents small portion of the market.

The reality is that laptops are not for gaming. Period. Games demand a lot of power which result in high temperature, something you don't want in a laptop.
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March 18, 2012 2:37:56 PM

rolli59 said:
They are not in retail and can only be bought on auction sites or from the OEM's! In most cases laptops are simply not upgrade able.



With such an old laptop you most likely would run into some compatibility issue (socket) and once in a while the pci-e slot doesnt push enough watts, but alienware is pretty cool when it comes to this, I know for a fact the last 2 generations of alienware you have been able to upgrade it, and believe it or not. Its not all hard to do.

But if you dont trust your tinkering skills, any local comp shop and do it in a day.

I bought a acer 5740G and I know literally every little part on that, and a OEM restrictive low end laptop with no features on the hardware level, I was able to overclock the I5-430 from 2.56ghz to 3.00ghz and the AMD 5650m was a underclocked 5730 with the same socket to the 58xx cards.

Upgrading laptops is a whole new beast, and in all honestly was some of the most fun to track down parts and make a $700 lowend run with the bigdogs of the day. for a 2 year lifespan i spent 1200 on it though (5850m 200 bucks, setfsb 60 bucks since he had to make me a custom one, 3 shop visits, and a 720p screen from that 1366 crap) :(  its pricey fun.


Website I found are hard to come by, but out there

Amazon.com
vendors links added sometimes with whole websites

Ebay
by far the most parts but its kinda nervous with burnout gear, be careful

....just realized most the of other smaller website are for acer laptops only.

alienware also has a huge fanbase with alot of websites that support almost anything.

and ALOT of people will say you can't do it, because its to much hassle and work. Don't listen, if a manufacture can do it, its possible, they aren't magical. just have to think different in approaching laptop upgrades. Power bricks can give 200+ watts but without it, you WILL have a rofl'ing low battery. kinda funny actually.


Get your Socket type for gpu, cpu. Wattage max. Both can be had from dell, they have the records, just have to make them dig it up.

And shop around, make sure the gpu is small enough or get a dremel!
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March 18, 2012 2:45:55 PM

Hi Shell,

It's going to be tricky finding a suitable upgrade. Your Alienware uses an MXM video module. You'll need to find one that is the same size, PCIe spec, power consumption (or lower) and thermal dissipation (or lower). You will also need to find a video card with a compatible VGA BIOS. I know that there used to be generic MX Radeon 3650 modules available for sale for under $200, so you might look for that, although there's no guarantee it will work.

Sadly, MXM never became a popular standard, so the promise of easily-upgradable graphics for laptops seldom came to fruition.
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March 18, 2012 2:50:09 PM

effgee said:
Hi Shell,

It's going to be tricky finding a suitable upgrade. Your Alienware uses an MXM video module. You'll need to find one that is the same size, PCIe spec, power consumption (or lower) and thermal dissipation (or lower). You will also need to find a video card with a compatible VGA BIOS. I know that there used to be generic MX Radeon 3650 modules available for sale for under $200, so you might look for that, although there's no guarantee it will work.

Sadly, MXM never became a popular standard, so the promise of easily-upgradable graphics for laptops seldom came to fruition.

Mobility X1900 is a group higher than mobility HD3650 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car... so it would be a downgrade.
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March 18, 2012 2:52:54 PM

Geeeez, this is definitely giving me an education! When I first looked my card up, saw the 'matching specs' (or so I thought), I thought this was going to be relatively easy! I thought that all those thousands of cards with PCI-E x 16s were compatible until I realized those were for desktops. lol.
The reason I wanted to change it out is because I have decided to go back to school for interactive media (web design/development) and thought I might need better graphics when I buy the Creative Suite. I can't afford a new laptop and I can't believe a budget one would be better than mine. I know it is five years old but when I bought it I upgraded it to a $4500 laptop and a lot of the components-most-work fine. I'm a little lost for direction now, and everyone here has given me a lot to think about. Still welcoming all kinds of options!
Thanks!
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March 18, 2012 4:03:54 PM

rolli59 said:
Mobility X1900 is a group higher than mobility HD3650 http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car... so it would be a downgrade.


Perhaps your TH link doesn't figure inter-generational parts properly?

According to Notebookcheck.net, the Mobility 3650 outscores the Mobility X1900 in all the 3DMarks by a little bit, plus has DX10 support (if that matters) and better video support and also uses less power. I wouldn't consider it really an upgrade - less than I thought, actually - but it's not a downgrade.
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March 18, 2012 4:06:31 PM

Lasergirl said:
Geeeez, this is definitely giving me an education! When I first looked my card up, saw the 'matching specs' (or so I thought), I thought this was going to be relatively easy! I thought that all those thousands of cards with PCI-E x 16s were compatible until I realized those were for desktops. lol.
The reason I wanted to change it out is because I have decided to go back to school for interactive media (web design/development) and thought I might need better graphics when I buy the Creative Suite. I can't afford a new laptop and I can't believe a budget one would be better than mine. I know it is five years old but when I bought it I upgraded it to a $4500 laptop and a lot of the components-most-work fine. I'm a little lost for direction now, and everyone here has given me a lot to think about. Still welcoming all kinds of options!
Thanks!


By "Creative Suite", do you mean Adobe CS? If so, while a newer video card would help in a few instances, you can certainly run it on your X1900. An SSD or hybrid HDD would have more of an impact, IMHO.
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March 18, 2012 4:23:22 PM

effgee said:
By "Creative Suite", do you mean Adobe CS? If so, while a newer video card would help in a few instances, you can certainly run it on your X1900. An SSD or hybrid HDD would have more of an impact, IMHO.


Yes, that's what I mean-Adobe Creative Suite. Can I just replace one of my hard drives with an SSD and speed up my pc or do I need to replace both? Looks like I need to do more research....
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March 18, 2012 8:00:28 PM

You could just replace the boot drive with an SSD.
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March 19, 2012 3:59:09 PM

Okay-I have researched everything that was posted here and I think the SSD is the best option until I upgrade my pc. I have dual drives so I think I can get away with a 128GB SSD to run OS/programs with. I am considering the Crucial m4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), but, given that my drives are SATA and not SATA III, will the speed of this SSD be compromised enough that I should get a slower (and cheaper) SSD?
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March 19, 2012 4:24:34 PM

Get a SATA II. You wont notice any difference not having an SSD at SATA III already. 128 is a good size to get. Goo luck.
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March 19, 2012 11:01:56 PM

Lasergirl said:
Okay-I have researched everything that was posted here and I think the SSD is the best option until I upgrade my pc. I have dual drives so I think I can get away with a 128GB SSD to run OS/programs with. I am considering the Crucial m4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), but, given that my drives are SATA and not SATA III, will the speed of this SSD be compromised enough that I should get a slower (and cheaper) SSD?


My brother's been running 2 Crucial m4's for about 6 months and is very happy with them.

You won't be taking advantage of the m4's full transfer speed with SATA 1, but there m4's look to be only a little more expensive than other 128GB SSD's, and Crucial's customer support is top-notch.
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March 19, 2012 11:16:58 PM

effgee said:
My brother's been running 2 Crucial m4's for about 6 months and is very happy with them.

You won't be taking advantage of the m4's full transfer speed with SATA 1, but there m4's look to be only a little more expensive than other 128GB SSD's, and Crucial's customer support is top-notch.


I agree. After I did a little more price-shopping of SATA IIs, I discovered they aren't that much cheaper. Plus, I will probably bite the bullet for a new laptop in the next 18 months, so if I go with the SATA III it will still be fairly fast even with tech advances so I could switch it out in my new laptop. I think it's a good plan, but comments welcome. :) 
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